Regional | Bay of Plenty

Nursery works with MSD to bring employment to Minginui

The Minginui Nursery is a whānau-focused business that was founded six years ago with the goal of producing superior native plants.

The Ministry of Social Development recently approved $1 million in funding for two years from the Māori Trades and Training Fund for the nursery's initiatives, which have been helping get more people into long-term jobs.

“People were too shy to do anything, to even get out and mahi. They were too used to being on the benefit and all that but since this nursery has arrived here, it changed everything for the better,” Minginui Nursery worker Stephen Karape says.

All of the workers are locals from Minginui. Stephen Karape is one of the team leaders of the seedings section of the nursery.

“I love everything about this place, the workers, as well as management and especially what we put into everything that we have here for our plants, you know it takes quite a lot.”

Serena Whitu, who also works in the nursery says, “It’s awesome in the fact that it's right here in our whārua (valley), we don’t have to travel far, and we all know one another. We are all whānau.”

The whānau have a lot to do in growing and distributing their plants around Aotearoa.

“We have been looking for funding to help us do our work a lot faster, so we went to management to see if we could get a de-pugging machine, which helps us too. We actually use mānuka sticks at the moment to help us with de-plugging and it's a bit hard on the hands but we get there.”

Ngāti Whare chairman Bronco Carson is glad to have the Ministry of Social Development's support. “You can see what it's done for our people. They now have nice vehicles, they are all legal. Most of our workers have their licence, they can go to town now and take their kids on a holiday.

“It's quite humbling to see the change happening. They are little changes, they are slow changes but they are happening with the help of MSD. We have been able to get some good successes in terms of our people. You can see the confidence in our people now who work here at the nursery and it’s been life-changing.”